RubyConf 2008 Suggestions

Overall, I had a great time at my first RubyConf. I found myself complaining about a few things so I figured I should at least attempt to offer some constructive criticism, rather than just whining. :) Below are some ideas for RubyConf 2008.

  • Enlarge the individual’s name on the name tags. This year the logo and design was huge and the person’s name almost disappeared. Everyone knows we are at RubyConf, but we don’t know everyone’s names. Make names huge and easy to read, you know, so stalking is a bit easier. The 40px square avatars that people use on twitter aren’t enough to recognize them at a conference.
  • Good wifi. Is this not possible? Can we not pair with a university or something to get sweet conference room setups and good wifi. Hotels and conference centers may be able to handle the interweb load of some suit on a blackberry but not a geek installing a gem that a presenter is talking about or checking out some code to hack on.
  • Start at no earlier than 10. The best part about any conference is meeting all the people. When the talks and keynotes go until 8 or 9 at night that only leaves the nightlife as a time to meet-up. This leads to some late nights and makes it pretty hard to function at 8 or 9AM (not that I function well at that hour anyway).
  • Less talks per day. I would say four or five talks is plenty for a day. The sessions start talk. Use them as that, not as a full day of education. Use the sessions to get everyone primed to fight over interpreters at the bar later. I found myself a bit “talked” out by afternoon of day 2. Or maybe weight the number of talks by day? Day 1 has 7 or 8, day 2 has 4 or 5 and day 3 has 2 or 3.
  • Don’t get any bigger. RubyConf was much easier to meet people than RailsConf. I think this is largely due to the fact that RailsConf is 3x as large. Stay small RubyConf, stay small.

Those are my suggestions. Anyone else agree or disagree with any of my points? Have some other constructive suggestions?


  1. Bill Davenport Bill Davenport

    Nov 08, 2007

    I found myself wanting to meet people from the blogs I’ve been reading. It’d be great to have a way to search a roaster and see if the person is there. Then see if there’s a way to connect.

    This was a good size. But it is possible to still have a community feeling event with a larger crowd. It’s just more difficult if you have questions and no time to get them answered.

    Chad and all those who helped did a great job! Thanks for a great RubyConf 2007.

  2. Eh, I think the number of talks was perfectly fine. It was nice to be able to hit some talks, go take a nap, and then come back to check out a highly anticipated talk later on. If the shortened it or something I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much or feel like I was getting as much value (I’d rather nap and miss something than go and not be able to enjoy it at all ;)).

  3. Yeah. I think the number of talks is fine too, particularly since confreaks were there. It takes a huge amount of pressure off knowing that the ones you miss you can catch on video. Leaves time for more interactive stuff.

    I’m totally with you on the name tags though.

    And I don’t think it was the wifi that was the problem, was it? I think its the backhaul behind that. Things could be massively improved with a local irc node and squid proxy, so that when 500 geeks are trying to download a gem most of it gets served locally

  4. @Jeremy – Good point. I guess I felt guilty about skipping the talks. Next time I won’t.

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